The European Union signs 1,5 million Euros grant contract for energy efficiency project of ECREEE

The European Union and the ECOWAS Commission signed a contract for the project “Supporting Energy Efficiency for Access in West AFRICA (SEEA- WA)”. The 2,3 million Euro project was submitted by the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and its partners in response to a call for proposals of the ACP-EU Energy Facility in 2010. Further co-funding was mobilized from the Agence de l’environnement et de la maîtrise de l’énergie (ADEME) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The approved project will be implemented between 2011 and 2014 by ECREEE in cooperation with the Austrian Energy Agency (AEA), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Alternatives pour l’énergie, les énergies renouvelables et l’environnement (AERE) and ENERGIA. The project will be managed by the ECREEE Secretariat, based in Praia, Cape Verde.

Mr. Mahama Kappiah, Executive Director of ECREEE, stressed the importance of the project for ECREEE and the whole ECOWAS region. It implements decision and recommendations of the West African Heads of States who called for urgent actions in the area of energy efficiency to mitigate the current power crisis of the region. There are significant potentials to improve demand side and supply side energy efficiencies in various sectors such as appliances, buildings, industry, power generation and transmission, he explained.

In the West African power sector the technical and commercial energy losses (e.g. theft, illegal operators) range from 20 to 35% in comparison to 7% to 10% in Northern America and Western Europe. It is estimated that in West Africa around 30% of the total electricity supply is consumed by the building sector. The importation of low-quality appliances and unsustainable building practices are a major cause for peak loads, power cuts and load shedding in urban centres. Mr. Kappiah reemphasized that the cheapest energy is the one we do not consume. Saving energy means saving additional investments that could be redirected to satisfy the energy service needs of peri-urban and rural areas.

The SEEA-WA project aims at the creation of an enabling environment for energy efficiency technologies and solution by mitigating various existing barriers such as policy, technical, financial, legal, institutional, and capacity related. The project foresees the establishment of a regional energy efficiency network of centers of excellence in all ECOWAS member states. All the member states have been requested to nominate appropriate institutions. In addition, the project will develop an ECOWAS Energy Efficiency White Paper which will include “minimum performance standards” and energy efficiency labels, particularly for appliances (e.g. CFLs, cooling/refrigeration equipment, cook stoves) and buildings. The project will facilitate several training activities and a regional awareness campaign on the social, economic and environmental benefits of energy efficiency solutions and practices.

Further information on the project will be available soon on the project website